UFC Vegas 81: Yusuff vs. Barboza Main Event Prediction
UFC VEGAS 81: YUSUFF VS. BARBOZA MAIN EVENT PREDICTION – The featherweight division is amongst the top three deepest divisions that the UFC boasts. This weekend’s main event is a perfect example of them being able to dig into the top 15 and find a fight night main event-worthy matchup.
Sodiq Yusuff returns from a year long layoff, hoping to add a third straight win to his current streak.
Edson Barboza looks to gather some momentum and get a winning streak going after toppling Billy Quarantillo earlier this year.
Will the nasty power of Yusuff come through against the veteran? Or will Barboza pull off another upset in 2023? Read on to see how these strikers match up and what angle we can take to make some money off it.
Earning his UFC contract through the 2018 season of Dana White’s Contender Series, it was evident from the jump that Yusuff was a fighter to take seriously.
He had a very willing opponent on the Contender Series against Mike Davis and it’s no surprise that Davis now finds himself on the roster too.
Yusuff started his UFC run with four-straight victories until he was given a co-main event slot against Arnold Allen. It was a close fight besides moments from Allen through the first two rounds that gave him the win, handing Yusuff his first UFC loss. Since then, Yusuff has rattled off two straight victories including a 30-second guillotine choke in his last fight.
It’s been a year since we’ve seen Yusuff in action due to lingering issues with a herniated disc.
He took the necessary amount of time off to ensure a full recovery, especially with the style he normally likes to employ. He is a low-medium volume striker who ensures that when he lets his strikes go, they count.
They often translate to knockdowns or knockouts, which is why opponents have had a difficult time getting their own volume off on him. He does a great job of countering, and he is quick to the target when he lets his strikes go.
Many people were fearful of Barboza’s decision to drop to 145lbs due to how cut and slim he already was at 155lbs.
Mix in the fact that he was starting to age, it didn’t seem like a good idea. However, he is 3-3 through six fights at the weight class. He was hoping for more success at this weight class but it’s obvious he will still stick around the top 10-15 range, just as he was at 155lbs.
He is most recently coming off a destruction of Billy Quarantillo, a fight where he clearly had a striking advantage and utilized it, finishing Quarantillo just over halfway through the first round.
We know what Barboza is good at, his striking and speed, especially early in fights. He throws in combinations, he throws with bad intentions, and he has a very nasty leg kick that he has battered many opponents with in the past, rendering them immobile.
The downside in his game at times has been his durability and the lack of defensive grappling. Most opponents have been able to drag him through the ringer and put the grind on him. However, when he can keep fights upright, he always has an opportunity to get his hand raised.
It’s tough to have a boatload of confidence on the Yusuff side considering the layoff and the experience advantage for Barboza.
However, I believe he has the power and speed early in the fight to catch Barboza with a counter and put him away. I’m happy with taking a shot on the knockout prop here on Yusuff as I think his precision and patient striking approach will pay off as Barboza tries to out-volume him. Again, not a fight to have a huge amount of confidence in